NEW YORK (AP) — Some of the world’s fanciest foods are going to New Yorkers who can’t afford even basic meat-and-potato meals.
Last week they got about 90,000 pounds of delicacies left over from the largest marketplace of specialty foods and beverages in North America, the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.
When the three-day display closed Tuesday at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s West Side, hundreds of volunteers descended on mountains of artisanal cheeses, salsas and jams, plus chocolate, olive oil, prosciutto, spices and other items donated by many of this year’s 2,700 purveyors from 49 countries.
A half-dozen tractor-trailers then delivered the food to pantries and community programs.
“We throw away so much food in this country while so many people are going hungry,” said Maria Vives as she led a nine-person team through the aisles of the 370,000-square-foot center.
They were volunteers for the massive food giveaway — an annual joint effort by the Specialty Food Association that produces the show and City Harvest, a leading anti-hunger nonprofit that feeds at least half a million New Yorkers a week.
Nearly a fifth of the 8.4 million people who live in New York are estimated to suffer from what’s called food insecurity, meaning they don’t have consistent access to safe, nutritious food, according to the hunger-relief nonprofit Feeding America.
When the show ended, the convention center turned into a mammoth culinary demolition derby, with exhibitors packing products and dismantling displays while workers ripped up carpeting and forklifts zigzagged to waiting trucks.
Volunteer teams rushed around the aisles forming a sea of green, the color of their City Harvest T-shirts.
Those in need came the next morning to a pantry on Manhattan’s Upper West Side that received about 6,000 pounds of products from the show that filled shelves and refrigerators.